Teaching and Learning Music: Being Mindful of Metaphors

Whenever I give a first Alexander Technique lesson to a musician, it is not uncommon that certain misconceptions about playing music come to light. It is ofttimes  an anatomic and/or physiologic misconception specific to the physical demands of playing the particular instrument. It can also be a misconception about the acoustical principles involved with the […]

Teaching And Learning Music: A Built-In Problem In Exhanging Information

The longer I teach the Alexander Technique to musicians, the more frequently one particular issue arises: the lack of clarity between cause and effect where practice and technique are concerned. Below is a brilliant description of this potential obstacle to progress: The players/teachers do what they do; they tell the student what they think they […]

Optimizing Practice: Habit Versus Choice

After teaching the Alexander Technique to musicians for a number of years now, one thing I can assert with confidence is that there’s never such thing as a “typical” lesson. In fact, I usually have no idea what I’ll be working on with my student at the beginning of a lesson. My only agenda is […]

Practicing Music: There Are No Foolproof Exercises

Musicians love to share advice in an attempt to help other musicians. (I’m no exception.) And it probably goes without saying that some of the advice is helpful, and some isn’t. One of the most common forms of advice that I often take issue with is when a musician blindly prescribes a particular exercise to another musician […]

Rethinking A Well-Meaning Saying About Practicing

Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice it until you can’t get it wrong. This saying is common among athletes as well as performing artists. In essence, this sounds like a good reminder of how committed you must be, how faithfully and tenaciously you must practice something to do it consistently well. I’ve heard […]